Richard's Photographer Spotlight: Ray Larose
As the founder and editor of Salt Magazine and the annual New England Photowalk, it's clear Ray Larose has two passions: the sea and film photography! His large and medium format photography documents what he calls "the stories that need to be told" and has appeared in international publications and galleries. Today in Richard's Photographer Spotlight, Ray is revealing his favorite travel-friendly camera, how he makes sure to never forget a piece of gear, and the big difference in culling film vs digital.
Richard: What first sparked your passion for photography?
Ray Larose: My passion began thanks to my father in the early 1980s. He'd photograph things like tomatoes and garden rakes with his Minolta SRT-103; he showed me how to see the mundane and make it exciting! Soon after, at the age of 14, I was learning to develop and print in the darkroom. From there I was hooked, and 30 years later I am still finding new things about photography to spark my interests and fuel my passions.
R: What do you love to photograph?
RL: The men and women that work the sea! I love to be onboard a working boat and capturing the emotion on their faces and the reality of their ocean adventures.
R: Photography is a passion for you, not a full-time career. How have you balanced your creative endeavors and everyday life?
RL: I still have a day-job to pay the bills and fund my photography. So, I am my own client and have all the creative control. But through the founding of my new adventure Salt, a publication telling visual and literary stories of coastal life, I've started to turn this more into a career while still being able to combine my two passions: film and the ocean! Though, I still shoot 100% for me. Even with the stories I put into Salt, they are first shot for my own passion—it's only after the fact that I'll decide if a shoot should be considered for publication.
R: What is your favorite camera and why?
RL: The Plaubel Makina 670 with the Nikkor 2.8/80mm. It's really fantastic to travel with—light, compact, and just gorgeous rendering.
R: What's your first memory of shooting with film? Why do you continue to shoot it?
RL: That would have to be with my dad in 1984, when he first picked up his Minolta. He taught me everything about it! I still use film because I love the process of shooting and printing. Everything about the process is slow and methodical without the use of electronics. I love that it demands planning and thought. Especially with large format—four exposures is a busy day, and I love that! Even though you don't shoot as many images, the "keeper" rate of shots on film is usually 95%; with digital, not so much.
R: Why is it important to have continuous communication with your lab(s)?
RL: Communication really helps me evolve my style. AS I change stocks or desired looks, the lab needs to know the "what" and "why" of my changes so the can adapt with me. Richard works hard to keep my Color PAC adjusted to my style; without the communication and friendships I have formed with the Richard crew, it just wouldn't be possible.
R: Do you have any pre-shoot rituals?
RL: I pack, unpack, then re-pack for each shooting excursion. There is so much to remember that I never trust I packed it all on the first try. And usually, I find that I forgot something.
R: Let’s play a game of “Either/Or”! Savory or sweet?
R: Chocolate or vanilla?
R: Dogs or cats?
R: Urban or rural?
R: Modern or vintage?
R: Warm weather or cold weather?
RL: Cold weather.
R: Biggie or Tupac?
RL: Who? Haha.
R: Early bird or night owl?
RL: Early bird.
R: Crossword or Sudoku?
R: Breakfast or dinner?
R: Batman or Superman?
R: Historical Non-fiction or SciFi/Fantasy?
RL: Historical Non-Fitction.
R: Comedy or Drama?
R: Truth or dare?
R: If you weren't a photographer, what would you be when you grow up?
RL: A sea captain (go figure).
R: What song/music do you listen to to get pumped up?
RL: "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney.
R: If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?
RL: The ability to instantly appear anywhere on Earth with camera in hand!
R: What is your favorite word, and why?
RL: "Proper"—probably because I watch too much Top Gear.